A characterization of the Laplace transform is developed which extends the transform to the Schwartz distributions. The class of distributions includes the impulse functions and other singular functions which occur as solutions to ordinary and partial differential equations. The standard theorems on analyticity, uniqueness, and invertibility of the transform are proved by using the characterization as the definition of the Laplace transform. The definition uses sequences of linear transformations on the space of distributions which extends the Laplace transform to another class of generalized functions, the Mikusinski operators. It is shown that the sequential definition of the transform is equivalent to Schwartz' extension of the ordinary Laplace transform to distributions but, in contrast to Schwartz' definition, does not use the distributional Fourier transform. Several theorems concerning the particular linear transformations used to define the Laplace transforms are proved. All the results proved in one dimension are extended to the n-dimensional case, but proofs are presented only for those situations that require methods different from their one-dimensional analogs.